Greetings, my name is Cynthia Crescent, or those of old knowledge should be able to identify me as Light Redemption, whatever floats your boat, I guess. This would, most preferably, be the first of many strategy-related articles to come that is written by none other than yours truly. What shall be the different between this one and so many others that come before it? Well, you’ll see very soon that this is, how shall I say, much more personal. I do not believe portraying my work like this as unprofessional, simply realistic and ideal.
FDP, yes, that, and all its glory, lies within these (virtual) pages. This is, more or less, considered the key to success and the modern interpretation of hero roles. It means to push out all the outdated philosophies of arbiter and embraces the new age of knowledge. Said view points emerged within my comprehension not so long before I wrote the original article of this one (a prequel, if you’d like), and since then, it has been nothing but extreme clarity everywhere I went and checked. You see, it is both more universal than precedent, but also more narrow. What would be the aim of this article, you ask? Well, if you’ve read/watched some of the more recent interview with professional players at the whole, and more specifically Chinese players, you would see the term “position” coming up a lot. Now, it’s funny that these terms only appear in said interviews after I’ve taken up the liberty of publishing my initial assessment of the FDP terms. I’m not taking any credits for that of course, because what I did was simply stating what has already become the norm, which people actually should follow. Regardless, this is something that should be explained in details for better understanding.
1. What is FDP?
Well, FDP stands for that-abbreviation-which-I-pulled-out-my-ass also known as Farming Distribution Priority. There really isn’t a better one that I can come up with, feel free to shoot my ideas if you want though.
On with the explanation: FDP is basically the allocation of space and time for one specific hero/player to farm and how it compares to that of his/her teammates during the course of the game, usually predetermined before a game actually starts (most likely during the picking phase). You can also think of FDP as player roles, but that should be left for later. In layman’s terms, FDP is, in its most general essence, the tactical sharing of gold from farming passive entities. What are passive entities? It is anything that is not a hero or player-controlled or just not active entities. This means creeps, Roshan, tower, buildings etc. These units behavior cannot be directly influenced by a player’s action, thus can be somewhat predicted and devised a plan prior to how to act towards them.
FDP only works in organized gaming, due to the nature of its very design. “Organized” here means within a team of five that has the basic level of communication and commitment to a plan. Thus, pub matches can also use FDP, but only the higher level ones. The job of deciding the positions is usually pre-assign to a player if you’re in a team, or do so during the picking phase should five people not know each other. To more detailed, since there are five players on one team, there should henceforth be five positions (from #1 to #5). This position directly means the farming priority, or the amount of farm one player is allowed to take, during the course of the match. #1 means you are the one who is allowed the most farm, more than #2, #2 is more than #3 and down to #5. These positions are assigned to the players and their heroes, but mostly on the players.
2. Why not hero roles?
FDP was created as a replacement for hero roles. Why? I have always felt hero roles to be rather… commercialized. That might not make much sense, but that would be the gist of it. You usually hear “carry”, “support”, “tank” etc. Now, while those would make sense in a general context, it does not work in determining which ones to actually take to do their jobs. Whilst there is no actually definition, just always the general consensus, people are often introduced to them. This works against organized playing for the most part. Who is to say which hero roles are more important to a specific strategy, rather the strategy itself? This would also lead to the hot-headed debate of “what role does this hero do” which would literally never end.
FDP, however, fixes that problem. You assign the player to the hero or vice versa, and then assign that to a position according to the amount of farm you think that specific player/hero would fit into that position slot, but most usually the player. There is not debate, whatsoever, about what hero should do what. Naturally the hero with the lowest position (#5) would more actively participate in skirmishes whilst the one with the highest (#1) would focus on farming. This is actively shaping the game into a mold that can be trained to, without having to worry about the shaky and shady definitions of the so-called “hero roles”.
I, personally, am entirely against hero roles in hero classification; simply because there is no clarity to hang onto once the issue gets into a debate or discussion. I would rather simply state the characteristics of said hero with different specific criteria (like “escape”, “nuke”, “heal” etc.) in order to more easily introduce the newer players into the general game. What replaces these you ask? That would be FDP of course, also classified as player roles. Yes, the player roles, always five roles, each one fulfilling a single position. The hero is controlled by the player, so it would simply make more sense that the hero itself should be picked and built according to the player, not the other way around. I salvaged some of the old hero roles that are too broad to be considered healthy for delineation, and assign them to players (not all of them):
#1 as Carry/Core – The player your team revolves around protecting/supporting
#2 as Pivot – The player that leads the assault and defenses of a team
#3 as Utility – The player that can adjust his in-game play to fit to the current situation
#4 as Secondary Support – The player that is general item independent after basic cores
#5 as Main Support – The player that can sacrifice most of his farm for the team’s success
Remember that a player might be the most comfortable with playing one position (me as #2 for example), but can always trade places for the position directly above or below him/her if one wish to stay flexible (so I can be #1 or #3 if needed, while someone who usually plays #1 should only play as #2 at most). This is frequently done, actually, for the #4 and #5, as they generally are interchangeable. Also, as you pick the player roles, their heroes should reflect what their position is good at doing.
3. Pros & cons
*Will always work in appropriate context, for it is tailored made for the game
*Is highly flexible
*Replaces the old confusing hero roles
*Is easier to practice to
*Player roles are predictable, to an extent
*Cannot be applied in non-organized context
*Not entirely easy to adapt to
4. Applications & examples
FDP, as said, aims to be a general term (can be substituted with “player roles”) to replace hero roles entirely. Thus, it is to be used in every single organized game, whether it is a team (pre-made) or not (organized pubs).
-If not a team, the captain should be taking up the responsibilities of assigning the player roles and pick the heroes fitting for each and every single one of the positions for it to work. Of course, any single one of the team members can do this, but it should always be a task assigned to one single player to retain its stability.
-If a team, then player roles should usually be assigned in practice already. A successful team is one that its composition is with people who are made to fill each and every position/player roles. If one would remind themselves of the early 2011 DK, you would see what I mean. They were a team with excellent players from all over China (factually the most powerful DotA metagame at the time). The team did not work out however. Team chemistry aside, it was mostly because of the composition of the team itself could not fit the hero roles, considering how there were too many #1s and #2s. They experimented with various other roles, but none worked for the players, and thus many left. This, however, gives it the current DK, one of the most powerful teams in China, and the world as well.
‘Burning / AAA’ Xu Zhilei (C)
‘Super / Yueru’ Xie Junhao
‘rOtk_xb’ Bai Fan
‘LongDD’ Huang Xiang
‘Zippo’ Zhou Xiong
Conveniently, the roster are also actually their player position from #1 down to #5. Take http://gosugamers.net/dota/replays/54115 game for example. Looking at DK’s team composition, we have:
You can see that their chosen heroes are very fitting for their player roles, which is why it works, flawlessly, within the team itself. Figuring out which hero belongs in what role is also hilariously easy as well, because it basically comes down to “you pick what you need”. The aim of this would simply be helping teams out there to clear out the confusion and get into the current “right” way to practice and tackle a problem that has persisted since many years ago. For now, good bye and good luck in your future endeavors DotA (2) fans. We shall meet again.